Dec. 14, 2017

Minutes of the December 14, 2017 Meeting
The Rotary Club of Mobile

Call to Order: The meeting was called to order by John Dukes at 12:05 PM. Kathy Miller offered the invocation and lead the group in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Jeff Zoghby welcomed members’ guests and visiting Rotarians. The club was entertained with Christmas carols sung by the Prichard Prepatory School Singers.

Rotary Children’s Foundation Distributions: Bo Mattei presented checks in the following amounts to these entities
• $9K to MARC to assist with programs.
• $9.5K to United Cerebral Palsy for expenses relating to summer camp.
• $8.3K to the Mobile Infirmary for a program teaching safe sleeping arrangements for newborns.
Bo stated that members’ contributions make this possible and encouraged those present to contribute via envelopes left on the table and added that United Way participants can also direct money to the Foundation.

Youth Merit Award: Jeff Luther introduced Holland Chupek of Mobile Christian School.

New Member: Chambliss Brister introduced Stephanie White, CEO of the Mobile Area Association of Realtors as our newest Rotarian.

Announcements: John Dukes made the following announcements:
• Club elections will be held on January 4, 2018.
• Recognized members who had attended the Rotary Children’s Party on Tuesday, thanking Barney March in particular for his wonderful portrayal of Santa.

Program: Rev. W. Bry Shields

Tom McGehee introduced fellow Rotarian Bry Shields who began his talk saying that the idea of Christmas has become something of a “political football” in recent years. He said that while many Christians want an open expression of the holiday they are up against a tied of secularists who want all images removed, resulting in a “naked public square.” He displayed an Advent Wreath and Nativity Crèche as examples of the expression of Christmas.

Bry said that history indicates this is nothing new. In 17th century America, Puritans in New England abhorred a celebration of Christmas while Southerners were toasting the day with the first egg nog. Christmas was outlawed in Boston as late as 1870 he added.

Bry traced the changing thoughts of Christmas during the 19th century citing Washington Irving’s depiction of St. Nicholas bringing toys, Charles Dickens’ beloved “Christmas Carol” and a commercialization of the day with Coca-Cola’s popular depiction of Santa Claus in the 1930’s. By that time the old Puritan views were long forgotten.

Bry concluded his talk stating that we need religion and the Gospel to inspire us all to a positive ideal fostering a civilization of love. The Chamber Singers and Chorus of McGill Toolen closed the program with Christmas carols.

The meeting adjourned at 1:05 PM.

Tom McGehee